New Delhi, May 15 : A day after a statue of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during clashes between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers outside University of Calcutta’s College Street campus during a roadshow by BJP president Amit Shah, the Congress on Wednesday condemned the incident and held Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-led BJP squarely responsible for systematically damaging the cultural identity of each state in India.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Congress strongly condemned the violent desecration of national icon – Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great educationist, the man who changed the Bengali alphabet and type, Sanskrit scholar, reformer who brought in the Widow Remarriage Act and fought for women's education orthodoxy.'We are deeply pained that such a shameful incident took place,' the Congress spokesperson said.
He said a new politics where ‘mobocracy’ is being actively encouraged and abetted by the ruling party - the BJP - in the country has gained ground in the past 5 years.
“PM Modi and Amit Shah-led BJP is squarely responsible for systematically damaging the cultural identity of each state in India,” the Congress spokesperson said.“Federal structure, respect for regional aspirations, culture, language, food habits, and identity of indigenous people are under attack by the BJP in every state of the country. This negative politics of ‘destruction, demolition and desecration’ are methodically vitiating the political atmosphere of the country. BJP wants to exert its monolithic supremacy and bigoted agenda on each state, thus weakening the federal polity,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson said party president Rahul Gandhi had taken upon himself to protect the culture, identity, language of the various states which make up India.
'This is one of the strongest reasons why Rahul Gandhi is fighting elections from both North India (Amethi) and from South India (Wayanad) -- so that all parts of India feel united under the common umbrella of the Congress party,' the Congress spokesperson said.
“Disrespect for national icons and hegemony of their own ideology is reflective of the BJP’s mindset,' the Congress spokesperson said.“We must recall that no less than a member of BJP National President Amit Shah’s team - Mr H Raja - pledged to destroy the statue of great social reformer, Periyar. Later, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav actively justified pulling down statues, but no action was taken against him.
Later, a bust of national icon BR Ambedkar was found splashed with red paint in north Chennai. In February this year, members of a fringe right wing group associated with the Sangh Parivar shamelessly re-enacted the scene of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by shooting the effigy of Bapu with an air pistol after garlanding a picture of his assassin Nathuram Godse in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.He blamed what he called the "condemnable policies" of the Modi Government for various states which had precipitated this situation.
"The Modi Government did not grant the Special Status to Andhra Pradesh, as per the AP Reorganisation Act and adequate funds to Telangana were also not devolved," the Congress spokesperson said.“The federal structure is dead. Democracy is being systematically mauled and kidnapped in state after state – Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya. The BJP Government in Arunachal Pradesh inflicted violence and played with the sensitivities of the people when it sought to impose the controversial Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) for 6 non-tribal communities. Modi Government politics of division was in full form, after it brought in the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which was opposed tooth and nail in many states of North East. This was a direct assault on the indigenous people of the North East,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson said Jammu and Kashmir was promised Rs 80,000 crore by the Modi Government, but only 31 per cent of the package was delivered to the state.“During Bihar elections, PM Modi shamelessly bid for the future of Bihar and promised Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for Bihar. But even after 2 years, not a single penny has been released,” he noted.The Modi Government claimed 42 per cent devolution towards states, but not even in one year of its term, it has achieved that threshold! It has never breached the 35 per cent mark," the spokesperson added.
“The Modi Government’s so called ‘increased devolution’ turned out that to be a cruel joke as the Centre abandoned schemes and burdened the states. They cut the number of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) from 70 to just 27 and also cut contribution in many CSS from 75 per cent to 50 per cent. This effectively means States are getting less as their share of tax revenue, and a pittance for the share of centrally sponsored schemes. What the Modi Government has ensured is that though the aggregate jump in devolution has been 10 per cent, the corresponding cut in CSS has eaten away the so called ‘10 per cent’ increase in devolution,” the Congress spokesperson said.
“Further, PM Modi that paraded Co-operative Federalism as an article of faith hasn’t even released the funds to states, with reports stating that the Centre has only achieved a third of devolution thereby starving states of funds needed for vital welfare schemes like education and health,” he said.
SC-ST Sub Plan for backward regions, funds which were meant for states, was abolished by the Modi Government, the Congress spokesperson said. In addition, special incentives for Hill States and Himalayan States have also been discontinued.
National Development Council (NDC) has been dissolved and powers granted to Niti Aayog, he said.
“In Manipur University, the Modi Government appointed an RSS Vice Chancellor in order to enforce its bigoted agenda. For Nagaland, PM Modi's much publicised “Naga Accord” is non-existent.PM Modi had compared Kerala to Somalia and just yesterday, BJP President Amit Shah called West Bengal as Kangaal Bangla,” he added. (UNI)